Is Soy Sauce Safe for Keto?

Low carb diets like keto are means for creativity when it comes to flavoring food.  Gone are the days when you can just add sugar for flavor.  When cooking for keto, you'll need to get creative with seasonings and sauces.

And what about different cuisines like Asian, that are traditionally carb heavy.  Most Asian foods are served with rice or noodles.  When on the keto diet you may not be able to eat Asian foods in the traditional manner over rice, but you can still eat them with flavor!   (Although, you can actually substitute with our keto rice if you like!)

How many carbs are in soy sauce?

Soy sauce is a great way to season many dishes to get an Asian flavor when on the keto diet.  Many Asian keto recipes will add soy sauce.  In 1 tablespoon is only 1 gram of net carbs.  A lot of keto recipes call for about 1/4 cup.  This is still only 4 grams of carbs, and usually it will have multiple servings per recipe.

When you're on the keto diet, you are free to use soy sauce for flavoring Asian dishes.  You should be aware of how much the recipe calls for, and how many servings per recipe.  Remember, 1 tablespoon equals 1 carb.

Soy Sauce Downfalls for Keto

For some people who are fighting inflammation, soy sauce may not be a good option for seasoning foods.  Some people may notice that their body gets slightly inflamed after eating soy sauce.  Inflammation from soy sauce could be caused by several reasons:

  • High sodium soy sauce will cause fluid retention - drinking a lot of water will ease this symptom.  There are also low-sodium soy sauce options available.
  • Some soy sauce brands may contain histamine.  Histamine causes inflammatory responses in the body, which is why a lot of people will feel inflamed after eating some brands of soy sauce.  (Those with actual allergies to histamine should not risk eating soy sauce.)

Soy sauce also contains phytoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body.  For people with already high estrogen, eating foods like soy sauce is not a good idea.  People with low estrogen, or no hormones issues, may actually benefit from eating some soy sauce because in some studies there have been health benefits associated with soy sauce.

If you have not noticed any issues after consuming soy sauce, then don't be scared off by this information.  Continue to purchase high quality soy sauce like Kikkoman, or use it sparingly and you should continue to have no problems.

Soy Sauce Alternatives

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a great option as a soy sauce substitute.  It is a top notch option for people with soy allergies, histamine reactions, or anyone who notices inflammation after consuming regular soy sauce.

However, coconut aminos can get high in carbs fast!  So you really need to watch how much you put in each recipe.  In most coconut aminos, there is 1 gram net carb per 1 teaspoon, not tablespoon like soy sauce.  So in 1 tablespoon, there are 3 grams net carbs.  Beware, that is 3x the amount in regular soy sauce, so try to use less than the keto recipe calls for.

Here's a great option for coconut aminos to purchase from Amazon (affiliate link disclosure):

Liquid Aminos (from soy)

An alternative to soy sauce when on keto is Liquid Aminos.  The main brand that offers this soy sauce substitute is Bragg, the same brand that is famous for apple cider vinegar (P.S. Apple cider vinegar has great benefits for keto - check out why you should be drinking ACV on keto here).  You can usually find them where you find soy sauce in the grocery store.

Liquid Aminos taste very similar to soy sauce probably because they are a protein derived from soy.  Liquid aminos are a good source of aminos acids, hence the name.  The great part is that they are very low carb.  In 1 tablespoon there is 0.6 grams net carbs.  If you compare that to soy sauce, that would be 2.4 grams net carbs in liquid aminos compared to 4 grams net carbs in soy sauce.

So if you are close to your carb count for the day, but really need some soy flavoring in your Asian stir-fry, Liquid Aminos are the way to go!  The drawback of these is that they are expensive, so buying them in bulk from Amazon is the way to go here!

You can get Bragg Liquid Aminos here:

There is quite a bit of sodium in Liquid Aminos.  If you are substituting in a recipe that calls for soy sauce, use about 1/2 the volume that is called for in the original recipe.


Let us know if you use coconut aminos or liquid aminos and if you notice differences in your body as opposed to regular soy sauce!

    1. Hi Walter, I’m not sure what brand of Soy Sauce you’re looking at and what is says for serving size, but every bottle I’ve seen or purchased has carbs listed. If it is a very small serving size, then it might not round up to enough for the manufacturer to label.

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